Movie trailers are to the point, engaging, and persuasive.  If you are the target audience, they make you want to watch the movie.

Let’s restate that in another context:

Software demonstrations are to the point, engaging, and persuasive.  If you are the target audience, they make you want to buy the software.

Is your software demonstration like a movie trailer?

During my career as a technology sales consultant, I have witnessed over 1,000 software demonstrations.  I love software demonstrations that are like movie trailers.  I also know that the reason they are like movie trailers is because the sales professional performed lots of dress rehearsals.

I’m convinced that the majority of the software demonstrations given to our precious sales leads are in need of more dress rehearsals.  Your sales team members need to realize that they are on stage; a negative review will make sure there is no second act.  They need to practice (a.k.a. perform dress rehearsals) giving software demonstrations, regularly and often.

Here are three ways to enable your team to deliver software demonstrations that are like movie trailers:

1. Perform dress rehearsals

Okay, you can call it role playing if you prefer.  Just make sure your team does this!

Write out a series of common software demonstration scenarios that your team encounters.  For example:

  • Prospect is concerned about the conversion process.  They don’t feel they have the resources, people, or finances to make the switch.
  • Prospect is concerned about cost.  While the ROI over time is evident, the upfront costs are an issue.
  • Prospect is concerned about buying software or developing it in-house.

During sales team meetings, role-play your common software demonstration scenarios.  After a pair of sales team members performs a role play, have peers provide feedback.  Be sure they begin with what they liked about the mock demonstration and why, and then provide any ideas for improvement. Done right, role playing is a positive, fun experience.  There should be lots of laughs and some votes of confidence, like “Awesome, dude, I’ll buy!”

2. Pre-demonstration checklist

Have team members review a pre-demonstration checklist, like pilots on an airplane.  For example:

__ Primary reason for interest is known
__ Business problem(s) needed to solve are identified
__ Buying process is known
__ Competitive landscape understood
__ All decision makers will be present

The good news is, unlike pilots, not all boxes have to be checked and you can still give a demonstration.  A pre-demonstration checklist is a self coaching tool that enables your team members to be more conscious of the use of their sales minutes. For example, a salesperson may deem that it is still a good use of sales minutes to give a software demonstration to a “private audience” that doesn’t include a key decision maker.  Not an ideal situation, but sometimes that is what it takes to advance a sale.

3. Post-demonstration review

Have Sales Managers lead a review session post software demonstrations. Similar to the pre-demonstration checklist, a post-demonstration review should be a standard format. Here’s an example of a post-demonstration review form:


Software Demonstration Review

Prospect: _____________________
Date: ________________________
__ Know all the players
__ Know all the needs (business problems to solve)
__ Know the decision making process
__ Know where they are in decision making process
__ WIIFM (What’s in it for my prospect?)
__ Present personal and company qualifications
__ Explained agenda
__ Set time frame expectations
__ Asked for additions to agenda
__ Gained agreement on next steps
__ Demonstrated in a memorable manner
__ Showed how they will use it to solve business problems
__ Discussed how reports drive business decisions
__ Addressed competitive advantages
__ Presented return on investment analysis
__ Discussed how they will get started
__ Reminded of consequences of status quo
__ Gained agreement on next step & time frame
__ Maintained positive body Language
__ Used story telling
__ Used vocal variety
__ Had visual aids
__ Had audience participation
__ Completed within time limit


Executive Summary

Lead your sales team to treat their software demonstrations as movie trailers.  Help them practice, drill, and rehearse in role play scenarios so that when they are giving a live demonstration, on stage so to speak, they earn a standing ovation… and quota attainment of course!

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